Did I REALLY have to buy a publishing company JUST so I could write a book?
After working in the corporate world for 2 decades, I took the plunge and started my own business, crowdfunding and launching an original productivity accessory line, and launching it to Amazon and a Shopify storefront.
Soon after, I realized I’d launched a product, not a business, and turning that product into a business would take me down a path that didn’t lead where I wanted to go. My experience and my heart had always been in media, and that’s very much where I saw my future.
Somewhat randomly, I came across a business for sale and immediately fell in love both with what the founder had built, and the potential I saw for its future growth. A few months later, I was the proud new owner of Grammar Factory Publishing. Grammar Factory, launched in Melbourne, Australia in 2013, is a self-publishing company that helps entrepreneurs write and publish books that build their authority and grow their business. In acquiring the company, I saw not only the chance to enhance what we offer our existing clients but also an exciting opportunity to expand within my home market, Canada.
So, here I am…an experienced business leader and entrepreneur. I run a business that offers a premium service delivering quantifiable benefits to a high-value customer segment with clear needs. However, while the business itself has a strong, 6+ year track-record in Australia, we’re an unknown quantity in Canada. And while I have strong experience and a deep professional network, I’ve previously worked behind the scenes, and haven’t built a significant public profile for myself.
In short, I am Grammar Factory’s ideal client.
This leads to the first (albeit unique to me) reason that I’m writing a book — to “eat our own dogfood”. For those unfamiliar with it, “dogfooding” is the term lovingly coined by Silicon Valley start-ups for the act of using your own product. Though the visual is comical, dogfooding can be an incredibly useful and enlightening experience.
While something every marketer should consider, this is not a theoretical marketing exercise for me. Rather, it’s a deliberate and strategic initiative I’m undertaking as an entrepreneurial business owner.
Like our clients, I’m not a professional writer (don’t worry, all our editors are!). I’m a business owner in search of proven strategies to grow my business, and I understand the immense value a published book brings in establishing professional authority and building a personal brand.
As with any business investment, I expect an ROI, both on my cash investment and my 30,000–50,000 written words. If you’re like me, you want to be clear ahead of time about what you expect from an initiative so that you can know after the fact if it delivered — authoring a book is no exception.
“As with any business investment, I expect an ROI, both on my cash investment and my 30,000–50,000 written words.”
To that end, there are 3 major reasons that (from my perspective as an entrepreneur, not a publisher), I’ve decided to write and publish a book.
1) To establish authority and build my profile
At Grammar Factory, we obsess about quality and delivering results for our clients, but in business, the only people who know the quality of your work are those with whom you’ve already done business. Prospective clients, media, influencers, conference organizers, and strategic partners get inundated with unsolicited outreach every day and click DELETE unless there are other signals in the market to back up your claims.
Word-of-mouth referrals and glowing reviews from our clients are a huge help and have been an especially strong driver of our success in Australia, but as we build out our Canadian business, in many ways we’re starting fresh.
By writing and publishing a book, however, I’ll build my profile and establish credible authority with our ideal customers.
Why do I believe this to be true? We surveyed our clients and here’s what they told us about what happened for them since their book was published.
- 63% got more media opportunities, including TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines.
- 72% landed speaking engagements, roughly half of which were paid.
- 74% secured new referral partnerships, 42% new distribution partnerships, and 26% were able to partner with big brands in their industry.
The reality is, people want to work with experts, and being a published author tells them that you’re a credible authority with enough to say on your topic to fill a book. That’s hard to fake, and most competitors won’t make the effort to replicate it.
2) To generate qualified inbound leads
When done correctly (and by that, I mean with strategic intent) a book not only delivers immediate value to your readers but also acts as a gateway to a broader business relationship.
By the time your reader finishes your book, they should fall quite firmly into one of the following segments:
(A) Fully satisfied readers
These readers got everything that was promised by your book, and everything they need. They’re unlikely to become customers of your higher-priced products and services unless their needs change in the future, but you can bet they’ll help evangelize you to others in their network.
(B) Full or partially un-satisfied
These readers feel like they wasted their time (or that you wasted it). If you wrote a good book, invested in quality cover and interior design, editing, and publishing, and didn’t misrepresent what your book would deliver, this should be a non-issue.
(C) Fully satisfied and activated
Just like those in Group A, these readers got everything your book promised, but in reading it, they’ve uncovered a much bigger need or desire. You inspired them to action and established your credibility with them as an expert on your topic, and they’re now eager to work with you on a bigger scale.
People from all three of these groups are likely to come in as leads from a variety of marketing activities. The problem is that nobody in the first two groups will become your customer, and you’ll waste a lot of time and effort finding that out.
“Through your book, you’ve established trust, credibility, and authority with them. They’re now familiar with you, your business, and how you work.”
By contrast, readers in Group C are the ones who will, having read your book, proactively reach out to you. Through your book, you’ve established trust, credibility, and authority with them. They’re now familiar with you, your business, and how you work. Rather than spending time convincing them of all this, you can instead have a meaningful conversation about their needs and how you can best help them.
What’s more? You did the work once to write your book, but it continues to work for you day and night, whenever someone reads your book.
3) To provide high-quality intellectual property (I.P.) assets for other uses
Content plays an incredibly important role in so many businesses today: marketing material, blog articles or guest posts, social media sharing, emails, podcasts, video, and even within products like courses and memberships. This type of proprietary content is the asset that underpins value for nearly all service-based businesses.
Unfortunately, extracting, structuring, and packaging that content is an activity that most business owners never undertake. The result is lost revenue opportunity and duplication of effort.
But I get it. It’s a herculean effort to try to convert your business’ unique value into content in a structured, systematic way, especially when the effort can feel theoretical and un-guided.
“Writing a book give you an end-goal and an iterative process by which to create a valuable I.P. asset [for your business].”
A massively undervalued benefit of writing a book related to your business, then, is that it provides a focused, bounded effort that accomplishes 80% of this content extraction, creation, and structuring process. The undertaking itself gives you an end-goal, and an iterative process by which to create a valuable I.P. asset that then serves as the basis for a wide array of other purposes.
This is huge.
Preview: You’ll see is that the content I develop for my book, will also serve as the basis for many other elements of Grammar Factory’s strategy going forward.
Authority. Qualified leads. Intellectual property assets.
These are the same three reasons why so many other ambitious, entrepreneurial business owners choose to write and publish their books.
As I follow the same journey our clients follow, I’ll also develop a first-hand appreciation for the challenges they face, the fears and expectations they have, and the results they get from our collective effort.
The experience will benefit me directly in delivering the same results that we deliver for our clients. I also know it will benefit our clients (both current and future) in helping to identify areas where we can be even more responsive to the needs of entrepreneurial business owners.
So, did I REALLY need to buy a publishing company JUST so I could write a book? Of course not. But what I see now is that published authorship is much more accessible than I realize, and the business did provide the impetus to get the book going.
Want to follow the same process I’m following? Then head over to grammarfactory.com/awesome-book-guide/ where you’ll get inside information that hundreds of entrepreneurs have already used to find the right book idea, beat writer’s block, get published, and leverage their book to double their revenue.